Leadership and Culture Virginia Armstrong University of Hawaii: West Oahu Abstract Effective leadership requires a delicate utilization of power and authority. Although they possess unique attitudes, traits and styles, successful leaders strive to promote their organization’s vision and culture and motivate others to embrace it as well. Studies have attempted to define one superior leadership model but have failed due to individual and circumstantial elements.
Keywords: leadership, corporate culture, power, authority Chapter Overview Leadership is the ability to influence others to follow direction and support decisions. Though leadership and management often coincide, leadership is more focused on the long-term visions of the organization and how to motivate and encourage the implementation of these visions. The success of leaders depends largely on their own attitudes, expectations, traits and leadership style they embrace.
Whether a manager’s leadership style is autocratic, laissez-faire or democratic, the emphasis they place on production and people bears the most importance. Studies conducted by Ohio State and University of Michigan have proven that successful leaders show concern, initiate structure, participate and maintain a general (rather than close) level of supervision. In a situational setting, the contingency approach is the most effective. The Managerial Grid is a graphical tool for managers to identify their management style and set goals towards improvement. Corporate Culture: Harmonize, Don’t Homogenize” In this article, Kuenne (2011) emphasizes the importance of attaining a strong corporate culture by unifying individuals and their talents as well as instilling a cooperative initiative on all levels to achieve one goal or vision. Kuenne (2011) calls his approach the infinity loop designed “to create a harmonized culture with the emphasis on being complementary, rather than striving for conformity” (Kuenne, 2011, para. 6).
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The most important elements of Kuenne’s approach are individual skills, shared values, departmental cohesiveness, a unified understanding of the corporate identity, cultivating personal development and the drive to inspire others. Essentially, thriving corporations instill a strong mission, vision and the inspiration to cooperatively make the visions a reality. Relation to chapter The article relates to the chapter by discussing the importance of creating a strong and diverse corporate culture.
As mentioned in the chapter, “A strong corporate culture is clearly defined, reinforces a common understanding about what is important, and has the support of management and employees” (Ghyllier, 2012. p. 213). An important component of a corporation’s culture is the individuals it is comprised of in the business. A good manager will recognize their talents, how to best utilize them and foster an environment in which they feel motivated and satisfied to work towards the common goal of the organization. In the chapter, these characteristics embody a strong corporate culture. Five Leadership Lessons to Unlearn” In this article, “Five Leadership Lessons to Unlearn” written by Stephen Wiehe, Wiehe (2010) describes how he changed the destructive leadership methods of a failing dot-com business in order to create a thriving business model. First, he emphasized that leadership is a behavior. Others judge your actions, not words or promises. He also pointed out that leaders don’t necessarily need all the answers but rather questions. He continues to explain that the most productive ideas are generated by numerous people during open and constructive discussions.
Another important point Wiehe (2010) makes is that leaders need to share power and authority. Lastly, he believes that rather than forcing or demanding change, it is better to ask for change and using methods such as positive reinforcement. Relation to chapter I thought Weihe’s theory on sharing power and authority were very closely related to the chapter discussion of power, leadership and authority. Weihe (2010) suggests that leaders “give power and authority away everyday”. This closely relates to the chapter reading in that it emphasizes the separation of leadership from power and authority.
Instead, leadership requires a skillful utilization of the two in order to lead effectively. According to the text; “Leadership is the ability to influence people to willingly follow one’s guidance or adhere to one’s decisions” (Ghyllyer, 2012. p. 200). If power and authority are employed correctly, they will aid in a leader’s following. However, when abused, employees may resist cooperation with not only the leader but the goals of the organization as well. I agree that when power and authority are shared, people gain a sense of belonging and self worth. Chapter and Article Learning
This research assignment helped me to really take the time to understand just how diverse and important conscious leadership is. I also learned how complicated it is to truly study leadership as every individual and situation is unique. I found the articles very interesting, as they clearly illustrated what types of leadership techniques were not effective and how to improve and change them. Chapter Learning I found it very interesting to learn about how much a leader’s personality and style can affect their ability to effectively gain following. Throughout my years of work, I have encountered many different eaders whom I can now better understand after reading this chapter. As I continue to work and be involved in social groups, I will now have the ability to identify different types of leaders and perhaps how I can be a better leader myself. Article Learning I think the most important key point from the first article is that people are unique individuals with unique talents, methods of learning and communication. Though employees may have little in common, finding productive ways for them to work together and communicate is critical in order to achieve goals.
Corporate managers must recognize that people need to feel not only accepted and valued as employees but also be incorporated as important components of the organization’s plan or vision. When everyone is working toward a clear goal together, the odds of success are far greater. Another key point Kuenne (2011) makes is the importance of recognizing people’s talents and utilizing them to their fullest extent. Creating a culture that fosters free thought and the expansion of knowledge fosters higher quality work and a better potential for innovative thoughts and ideas. The right culture change can—without question—improve results," says John Kotter, co-author of the book "Corporate Culture and Performance" (Lublin, 2013, para. 7). I think the most important key point from the second article is to avoid leading behind closed doors. It makes a big impact when leaders demonstrate their willingness to put forth effort in order to reach the goals of the organization. Often CEO’s lead by giving orders; which often makes people feel inferior and unmotivated.
Wiehe (2010) suggests finding opportunities to open the lines of communication by requesting feedback. He notes, “Great ideas form from open, constructive, and positive discussion driven by questions. Everyone contributes and therefore buys into the idea” (Wiehe, 2010, para. 5). Not only do employees feel important by contributing their ideas, but also must take partial responsibility for the outcome. Another key point Weihe (2010) makes is to avoid counterproductive elements such as conflict and negativity. He suggests holding casual ompany gatherings in which dialogue can occur in a relaxed environment where people have a sense of belonging and higher comfort level. I know when my company hosts work team building parties we gain a much better sense of camaraderie and generate good ideas for the business. Other tools managers can use to improve morale and production are sales rewards and bonuses. References Ghillyer, D. A. (2012). Management Now. New York: McGraw-Hill. Kuenne, C. (2011). Corporate Culture: Harmonize, Don’t Homogenize. Retrieved from http://www. businessweek. om/managing/content/may2011/ca20110516_966904. htm Lublin, J. (2013). Can a New Culture Fix Troubled Companies. Retrieved from http://online. wsj. com/article/SB10001424127887324096404578356351608725098. html? KEYWORDS=corporate+culture Wiehe, S. (2010). Five Leadership Lessons to Unlearn. Retrieved from http://www. businessweek. com/smallbiz/tips/archives/2010/07/five_leadership_lessons_to_unlearn. html http://www. businessweek. com/managing/content/may2011/ca20110516_966904. htm http://www. businessweek. com/smallbiz/tips/archives/2010/07/five_leadership_lessons_to_unlearn. html
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